Annie

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Five: the Weekend and the Week to Come

In Camp, Pictures on July 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

As it is written; If you have not clicked the link and read the posts you shall never understand the things to come.

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two: Return of the Ninjas

Part Three: Brand Spanking New

Part Four: The Very First Week

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Now, I know this is getting kind of long, so I’m going to try to sum up as best I can. It was such a superb fortnight! It’s hard to do it justice with so few words! I have so much to write about once I’m done with this series!DSCF0385

Last year was my first time staying the weekend. It was awesome, but I’ve come to a conclusion. If you are a camper staying both weeks, by all means stay! It’s a lot different and you can make some really great memories that you may not otherwise. Nemo Boy for instance (many will wonder, few will understand). As staff staying both weeks, just go home. It is hard to just rest and relax at camp (at least for me).DSCF0384

After the camp week was officially over, all the first week campers were gone and we had the cabin cleaned up, Mom and Dad came and took us all out to lunch. I had only been to town once before (last year) so I really didn’t understand what a big deal it was. Everybody said it was redneck, but I assumed they would call HV redneck as well. We only went to McDonalds and Walmart, but that was enough. I’m not sure we saw anyone who actually had all their teeth, and there were several people in flowered nighties. Wow. Well then.DSCF0381

We got back to camp and took a very long time saying goodbye. They helped us move our stuff to our new cabins and then left us there. 😦 At this point I pretty much wanted to come home. Oh well. Claire and I took our laundry over to the Taj. I had already had a run in with this washer.  It hates me. I’m usually really good with mechanical stuff and electronics. I can usually get things to do what I want them to do with little trouble. Notice how many “usually”s I just used. Yeah, this thing hates me. I had I think three people show me how to get it going. I still don’t know what they did differently. For what ever reason, it works for everyone else.

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Snow and I were co-counselors for the second week. This was super cool because she was in my CILT class! Over the weekend we spent most of our time working on laundry and prettying up the cabin. We took our theme from The Music Man and decorated it like a library. I wish I had gotten some pictures, all I have is a screen shot from one of the  videos we took. MPlibrarylibrary  That Madison Public Library sign took me so, stinkin’ long to paint. I got completely done and it was dry, and then I stood there, admiring my work, when I realized how I spelled Library. Libarary. Noooo!!! How to fix it. Cut and paste! I cut “Madison Public” and pasted it to a freshly painted Library. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture, but we made a bookshelf and made little books with the girls names on them. I t turned out to be really awesome! All our girls had really literary names! Some of them were actually the titles of books! They were great Heroines. 🙂 I really love how the door turned out, I just wish we had more time to make it look more clean cut.DSCF0386

After all the girls got there it was time to sign up for activities. When we got there the girls had a big surprise. They had opened canoeing up to the Trailblazers. This doesn’t happen often. Canoeing is usually only for the older girls I think mainly because of the swim test. You have to tread water for 5 minutes in jeans and a t-shirt, take them off (swimsuit underneath of course) and then tread for 5 more minutes. Two girls in my cabin took the test, one of them ended up doing crafts instead of canoeing. I really admire her for trying, but then knowing her limits. It’s so hard sometimes. I know I’m not good at this. DSCF0387

It was a really awesome week. At the beginning of the week I was really nervous. There was no way week 2 could be as good as week 1.  It had to get worse. God was so good! IT was different, of course, but it was still amazing! I’m finally rested up, over a month later, but I’m so excited for next year! Meg will be a CILT I!! Oh! Something really cool! Snow and I (same class) have younger sisters who will both be in the same class! I’m seriously stoked about this upcoming CILT class. You guys are going to rock. 🙂

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A note about the pictures in this post: I know they have nothing at all to do with anything mentioned, they are just too cute to miss. Everyone got Mexican S’mores and enjoyed them so much I had to preserve the moment (good thing too as we didn’t get a cabin picture with Snow and me included 😦 I love the one we did get, it is such a great representation of the personalities!)

DSCF0335 Well, like everything here on this earth, this series must end. So I wish you farewell, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Four: The Very First Week

In Camp, Pictures on July 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Today’s post will be a general summary of my first week as a counselor. If you haven’t read my previous posts, I would recommend doing so before proceeding.

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two:Return of the Ninjas

Part Three: Brand Spanking New

In part two I started telling about week one, but I just barely got through the girls arriving! Recap time!

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For week one I was Co-Counselor with Polly (mentioned before). We had 5 awesome girls who despite all oods 😉 meshed and congealed fabulously!

Back before camp started I signed up to do Vespers. I didn’t fully realize what that meant until I got to camp and no one else had signed up. I freaked out a little. I was so thankful when Flicker and Pippet  came along side and helped me! We also recruited some others to  help us out with various parts of the program.

Hang on though, what is Vespers? Vespers is sort of our “get-to-know-you” program. It often involves dressing your counselor up, a skit, a game of some sort, and/or a song. There is always a songfest and then a message. It is basically a fun kick off to the week.

Our theme for the week was “Time Machine”, so we worked around that. We had the girls dress their counselors up as a time traveler and her time machine. They were then to give a presentation and everyone else could guess when and where they were/just got back from. It was all kind of up in the air and disorganized, but it left room for a lot of creativity and the potential for tons of fun.

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One thing we forgot to plan was who was going to emcee… So that fell to me.

Part of CILT I is planning and leading vespers, so I should have been fine. But then there is the size of my class. There were 11 or 12 of us. There is a big difference between standing in a group of 11 and leading, and standing by yourself and leading.

The fantastic females of four wrapped me in gray wrapping paper and stuck buttons on me. We were running out of time, so we just taped the paper to my shirt. This was all fine and dandy for standing in, but when it came to walking, climbing stairs, sitting, and just moving in general, it was another matter. I was a robot without hinges. Oh! Can’t forget my marvelous antenna. I basically looked like a space age unicorn. This was fine with me. It was really fun to dress up and be goofy. I’m sure it was great fun to watch! 😀DSCF0206

We decorated the Trailblazer cabin with a space theme. This was an uncoordinated thing. We just both got there and started setting up and realized we both did the same thing! This picture is of the door to our cabin. You can’t really tell in the picture, but the buttons have our names on them. We did glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and planets for bed markers. The other Trailblazer cabin did a bunch of star charts and things from Doctor Who and Star Wars. It was basically, their cabin was the star-ship, then you open our door and get sucked out into outer space.

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For my activity I assisted Rufous in Outdoor Cooking again. It was awesome. I really love working with her. I lead the fire building team and Rufous headed up the cooking department. This was great for me, I’m not all that wonderful at the actual cooking part of Outdoor Cooking.

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Claire was in my activity! It was really nice to get to see her! Even though we were all three at camp that week, I don’t feel like I saw Meg at all. Most of what I heard about her was second hand. It was amazing to talk with Flicker (my counselor last year first week, Meg’s counselor this year first week! Such a cool/awesome/weird thing to have happened. She just can’t get away from us! 😉 ) and hear how she was doing in the cabin. Then at another time Robin, the Explorer DD, came up and told me about Meg. I just about burst my buttons, and did actually cry, hearing about how my baby sister was growing up. It was even better coming from people I look up to so much.

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Three: Brand Spanking New

In Camp, Musings, Pictures on July 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Previous Posts:

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two: Return of the Ninjas (One of the lovely ladies from camp had a longer clip of Ninja Guard! View Here)

The hardest part about being the newbie on staff is the staff. Everyone already knows each other and has relationships, and here you are. Brand spanking new. I just realized where that term came from! DSCF0375 When babies were born they used to spank them to get them crying, which in turn opens up their airways and kick-starts breathing. While I don’t particularly agree with this practice (doesn’t sound very helpful to me, but what do I know?), this is a great metaphor for how it felt. A small shock after the arduous journey, but still enough to wake you up with a start. DSCF0278

As a camper it’s not hard to know the names of most of the staff, especially the “top dogs”. You look up to them and remember what they say. But as staff you may not remember every camper’s name. There are a lot more of them than you. Coming from being a camper to being on staff was really different. Even with CILT there really is no way to fully prepare. It was really hard for me to get used to being, not necessarily peer level, but working together with these ladies who you look up to as role models. You feel like you know them, but they really don’t know you at all.DSCF0353

It’s like going from standing on the deck of the pool to diving in. Looking down you can see everyone clearly, in fact you are watching them. They are doing their own thing down in the water; aware of your presence as part of the group on deck, but not really you individually. When you jump in you are suddenly no longer part of the group on deck, you are down in the water. The others have been swimming longer, so they already have their routines, but you are just getting started. Are you going to do laps, or are you just going to splash around? You may swim up and start chatting with a group, but you are coming in half way through the conversation.DSCF0251

Some of the staff remembered me from my years as a camper, even though those years were few. There were times when I was having trouble keeping a kind, happy face. Talking with them always helped. Hearing about when they were in the same spot of being the baby. Listening to things that were happening in their lives, things that they remember about me, things that they observed me do with the girls. I’m not sure if any of them really know how much it means to me. I’m often forgotten, it seems. Sometimes I feel like a stalker or a spy. I’ll remember something someone said, and they have no idea who I am. I think this will come in handy someday. It’s very useful at camp. DSCF0236

You have a short amount of time to learn and mesh. Remembering about a girl can make or break the relationship. Not just her name, but specific events, things you share. Like, I remember sitting in a canoe for an hour talking with my counselor. I remember walks up from the pond and who said what. I remember walking to the nurses cabin for a late night headache and what we talked about, and even in the dark the facial expressions. From the position of staff it’s easy to get the mindset of the campers being a  mass. You have to remember that they are individuals, created in the likeness of God and equal with you where it really matters. From the position of a camper it means the world to me if you remember me. I look up to as a role model of what it means to be a woman of God, an expert fire builder, the glue gun guru, or just a really awesome person.

So.

Be careful.

They are watching.

They are learning.

They want your affirmation.

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Two: Return of the Ninjas

In Camp, Pictures on July 10, 2013 at 1:56 am

I last left you recovering from sunburn. Actually I left me… and… now I’m slightly confused… and… not sure how to move on…

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Week one.

I was co-counselor with a fabulous lady named Polly. It was so cool to talk with her! She has been coming to camp longer than many of the staff have been alive. She has so many tips and stories! Things like having the girls keep their Bibles, pens and groundcloths all in one spot so they are ready for Morning watch and Bible Ex. Having playdough and tic-tac-toe at the table for after meals.

On the way to meals the girls are supposed to walk single file. It didn’t take long for us to realize it was a losing battle and we just let them walk however they wanted. We joked that they walked single file, horizontally. It was really cool when we figured out why they were doing that. They all liked each other. This was something I had been really worried about. Four out of our darling five knew each other and the one left out hadn’t ever been to camp. All the worrying was pointless! The cabin integrated SO well! I could not have put a better cabin together myself!DSCF0321

Something really amazing happened on the first day. In the chaos of the girls were coming in and getting settled, one of the moms came back in asking for Annie. Now, I had been trying to get used to responding to Pigeon, but I turned around anyway. She held out what I recognized right away as my Ninja Guard shirt. DSCF0233

It is tradition that the Explorers do Color Guard (flag raising) everyday. There are some basic marching routines, but sometimes they shake it up. Even though I only did Color Guard around 5 times, I have done at least three of these with special routines (for example). My very first time we marched out and then in a circle  before we lined up to actually raise the flag. I’m not particularly coordinated, so it was never my best activity, but I really enjoyed it. On our last week as campers my cabin did Ninja Guard. The link will take you to a very short clip of what we did (we are the ones in black that kick). First, instead of marching up to the flag pole, we ran around behind the campers and came in the back (Someone held the flag for us and handed it to Raven). On the way back we did kicks, chops, rolls and general ninja stuff while Raven did  Tae-Kwon-Do forms. We got in position back on the concrete pad and she said “To the Trees and halt, one two” we ran behind our designated tree. “At ease” we peeked out. It was fantastic and all the girls loved it.DSCF0227

Later the Explorers made t-shirts with stencils and spray paint. We had been thinking we needed to do something like that, so most of us made matching shirts. We cut out  our own stencils and used up about 3 cans of black spray paint. It took so long. It could have easily been around three hours, start to finish. We were there longer than anyone else.

I wore my shirt the night we had a giant shaving cream war. I took it off to clean up and it disappeared. I checked the lost and found, and then after camp emailed people asking if they had seen it. No one knew where it was and I had just given it up as gone forever. And yet here it was.

During the chaos one of the girls had set her stuff on my shirt and it all got mixed up. She ended up taking it home with her laundry and her mom found it and saved it back.

I am totally amazed. I had completely given it up. I just about cried when she came in with my shirt. I really think that was a God thing. He used that to encourage me that He cares about the little things. It was like a little reminder that God was there and everything was going to be great. He gives us so much more than what we need.

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part One: Poisoned by Sol

In Camp, Pictures on July 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I started working on my traditional back from camp post, but I realised something.  I was typing along and I looked down. 300 words and camp hadn’t even started yet. That plus the fact that I have dozens of picture lead me to the conclusion that it is time for another series! Therefore I bring you my longest title in four years!

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part One: Poisoned by Sol

On June 3rd Mom took everyone but me and Dad to Metropolis for the week. Dad was at work all day so I was basically home alone until I left for camp on Thursday. This was ok… but the first thing I did was really dumb.

I love reading. Even more than that I love reading outside. And even more than that I love reading good books outside!

I had been trying to get a little bit of a tan before camp so that I didn’t burn (Learned that the first year, if you go to camp still wintry white you will burn).DSCF0334

I put on my cami and shorts, grabbed my Bible Ex book (cabin Bible study) and the diary of Anne Frank and went out. Long story short, I was an idiot and spent over an hour outside, without sunscreen but with my paleness. As soon as I got in I started seeing a bit of red. This should have been a big warning.

Fast forward to Saturday morning.

This was my third day at camp doing life guard training. Everyday, as a warm up (which we needed in the 58° water) we had to swim 550 yards without stopping. In the pool at camp that is 13 1/2 laps. I had done this for two days with very little sunscreen. Outside of the laps we had a lot of diving and other swimming. Basically, by Friday night we swam over 1100 yards. A football field is 100 yards.

Every day my sunburn was getting worse and I was getting more and more fatigued.

After thinking and praying all morning I decided it was time to quit. I didn’t want to be exhausted before camp even started.

Looking back it is pretty obvious that I had sun poisoning. At the time I attributed all the symptoms to extreme physical activity, but after careful analysis I am thoroughly convinced it was sun poisoning. Right after I decided it was the right thing to do the blisters started coming up.

It’s really hard for me to quit something like that, but I felt peace about it and now I know what to expect when I try again next year. Next time I will not fail! DSCF0323

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